Web-only reviews

Some online exclusives.

The well-being goal
On the Ball? How Football Can Help Your Mental Health
Paul Gaffney

There continues to be a stigma surrounding mental health in our society. It appears difficult, for men in particular, to discuss mental health difficulties or seek help. Paul Gaffney has drawn on this and created a relevant and insightful book incorporating the world of football with his expertise as a psychologist.

Each chapter entwines examples from football with advice and words of wisdom to help maintain positive mental well-being. For the majority, On the Ball is an effortless read, as little psychological knowledge is needed to follow the guidance provided. Readers will also benefit from the ‘things to try...’ section at the end of each chapter. These practical ideas vary in difficulty, and everyone will find something attainable here.

My only issue was the briefness of each chapter; I found myself becoming absorbed with Gaffney’s ideas only to find the chapter ending and leaving me wanting more. However, Gaffney has considered this issue and as a result he recommends further reading on each topic. Whilst this book fills us with optimism and reassurance, if readers wish to pursue Gaffney’s ideas further, then On the Ball skilfully shows us the way.

Original Writing; 2014; Pb £7.50

Reviewed by Lara Mesoudi, who is Head of Psychology, The Chase School, Malvern


Psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies and psychology
Psychology After Psychoanalysis: Psychosocial Studies and Beyond
Ian Parker

Psychology After Psychoanalysis is the fourth text in Parker's Psychology After Critique series, where he discusses how the turn to language led to the formation of new critical psychological approaches such as discourse analysis and psychoanalysis. As with the other books in this series, he provides an introductory overview to the book as well as summary reflections before each chapter.

The main areas of debate covered in this book include: the formation of psychoanalysis in psychology following the ‘crisis’, how psychoanalytic arguments inform psychosocial research and, finally, consideration of the relationship between individuals and society. What I particularly liked about this book was the account of how psychoanalysis ‘sits’ within contemporary culture in relation to clinical work, research and everyday life.

As with other work produced by Parker, the focus of his critique is clearly political and concerned with the need for change not only in psychology but also in society. This book should be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and practitioners in areas including psychology, counselling, psychosocial studies and various mental health work.

Routledge; 2014; Pb £22.65

Reviewed by Dr Alexander John Bridger who is Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield


Lacan, anti-psychologies and revolution
Psychology After Lacan: Connecting the Clinic and Research
Ian Parker

Psychology After Lacan: Connecting the Clinic and Research is the sixth and final book in Ian Parker’s Psychology After Critique series. This particular book brings together key papers on Lacanian analysis from Parker’s career to date. This book also includes a foreword to the book series by distinguished critical scholar, Rom Harré. At the start of each chapter there is also a short summary and reflection of those respective papers.

The introduction chapter situates the ‘crisis’ debates in psychology in relation to the turn to psychoanalysis by various critical psychologists. In the other book chapters, he discusses core ideas and questions such as: why a Lacanian approach could be considered as ‘anti-psychological’, the idea of Lacan as a ‘barred psychologist’, discussion of the differences and similarities between Skinnerian and Lacanian approaches and, finally, concluding with a Lacanian interpretation of how cyberspace can be considered as representing some of the ‘dirtiest secrets of contemporary capitalism’.

I found this book to be really interesting and thought-provoking as it raises key questions that we should be considering, whether we position ourselves as psychologists, critical psychologists, psychoanalysts or with respect to any other disciplinary affiliations or commitments to various groups and collectives. This book would also be recommended to second- and final-year undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars in psychology, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology and psychosocial studies.

Routledge; 2014; Pb £22.65

Reviewed by Dr Alexander John Bridger who is Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber